Arts Council England Environmental Sustainability Report 2019/2020

Julie’s Bicycle and Arts Council England have worked in partnership since 2012 to inspire environmental action across the arts and culture sector, with a focus on long-term funding partners, the National Portfolio Organisations.

Our latest report Culture, Climate and Environmental Responsibility provides data, projections and initiatives from the 2019/20 year. 

Key findings of the report include:

  • The Spotlight group (which includes organisations like the National Theatre, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and the Royal Opera House) is the first cluster of major cultural organisations to set decarbonisation targets, in order to reach net zero carbon and has reduced its energy use emissions by 18% in 2019/20.
  • Comparing the 346 buildings, for which consistent data was provided in 2018-19 and 2019-20, total energy use emissions (electricity and gas combined) decreased by 12%.
  • A quarter of cultural organisations are now procuring green energy and investment in green tech is up 4%; 17% of organisations now benefit from renewable technologies such as solar photovoltaic panels and electric vehicles (or EV charging points).
  • 70% of Arts Council NPOs are on the way to eliminating single-use plastic and business vehicle ownership is increasingly discouraged in favour of car club schemes and low-emission taxi services (29%, up by 8% compared to 2018-19). 
  • 99% of Arts Council NPOs consider it important that Arts Council England continues to help NPOs deliver a more environmentally sustainable future. 
  • Being environmentally responsible brings significant value to organisations, through financial savings, boosting staff morale and reputational benefits; many organisations are also factoring climate change into their creative programming, engaging their audiences directly with these issues.

– Header image: Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner by Jasmine Lee-Jones, Production Photos for the Royal Court Theatre (2021) – credit: Myah Jeffers

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